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September 10, 2019 Meeting Notes

FULTON COUNTY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019, 8:00 A.M.

PLANNING DEPARTMENT CONFERENCE ROOM

MEETING NOTES

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PRESENT:

DAVE D’AMORE, CHAIRMAN
TIM MUNN, VICE CHAIRMAN
­­­JOSEPH SEMIONE, TREASURER
JANE KELLEY, MEMBER
JAMES MRAZ, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
KARA LAIS, FITZGERALD, MORRIS, BAKER, FIRTH PC
MARIE BORN, LIAISON, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
KEN ADAMCZYK, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST, FULTON COUNTY CENTER
FOR REGIONAL GROWTH
BETSY EMERY, EMERY DESIGNS

I. MINUTES FROM AUGUST 13, 2019 MEETING:

MOTION        :           Accept as presented.
MADE BY      :           Joe Semione
SECONDED   :           Jane Kelley
VOTE              :          Unanimous

II. BUDGET REPORT:

MOTION        :           Accept as presented.
MADE BY      :           Jane Kelley
SECONDED   :           Tim Munn
VOTE              :           Unanimous

III. COMMITTEE REPORTS:

A. Nominating Committee

  • No report.

B. Audit Committee:

  • Monthly Bank Reconciliation Reports: Joe Semione

DISCUSSION: Joe Semione reported that he has approved the Monthly Bank Reconciliation Reports for August.

C. Governance Committee:

  • No report.

D. Finance Committee:

  •  No report.

IV. FULTON COUNTY/FULTON COUNTY CENTER FOR REGIONAL GROWTH (FCCRG) REPORTS:

  1. Fulton County Report: Marie Born, Liaison
  • No report provided.

2. FCCRG Report: Ron Peters, CEO

  • No report provided.

V. OLD BUSINESS:

A. Status of Johnstown Renewables Project:

  • Amendment to Lease Agreement was sent to JR.
  • Amendment extends project completion date through December 31, 2019.

IDA DISCUSSION: Kara Lais stated that she received an e-mail yesterday from Johnstown Renewables advising that they have not executed the Amendment to its lease that was recently sent to them.  Kara Lais stated that she explained again to Johnstown Renewables the need for them to sign this Amendment so that the IDA had a copy of it in its records.  She stated she was asked to resend the Amendment to Johnstown Renewables.  Joe Semione stated that if Johnstown Renewables doesn’t act, he would be in favor of moving to recapture their sales tax benefits.

B. IDA Website:

  • Emery Designs completed work updating IDA website.
  • Emery Designs conducted “Discovery Process” meetings on July 26th, August 9th and August 30th.
  • Based on input provided, Emery Designs has recommended improvements to IDA website.
  • The following is a summary of the key takeaways from IDA staff and Chairman:
  1. The IDA needs to market and promote itself as an agency that can incentivize a variety of different types of projects from mixed-use developments to hotels to commercial.

 

2. IDA’s Website should be Upgraded to:

 

A. List all types of projects the IDA can incentivize.
B. List examples of how the IDA could incentivize different types of projects.
C. Include cut sheets on all shovel-ready sites that include:

  • Map
  • Location
  • Land Cost
  • Acreage
  • Utilities
  • Zoning
  • Incentives

D. Allow users to print information about a shovel-ready site.
E. Include a list of Fulton County’s Key Assets that make it attractive place to live and do business:

  • Quality of Life
  • Quick permitting process
  • Low land cost
  • Low occupancy and labor costs
  • Good infrastructure capacity
  • P-Tech

F. Include the process a company would go through to apply for IDA financial incentives.

G. Include more information about existing IDA projects:

  • Description
  • Jobs/Investment
  • Photos

H. Include Maps:

  • Fulton County
  • Regional

Presentation by Betsy Emery, Emery Designs.

IDA DISCUSSION:    Dave D’Amore reviewed the information on the Agenda.  He stated that he’s participated in several meetings with Betsy Emery at which there was good discussions about who the IDA is and who our clients are, as well as how to best market the IDA.  He turned the meeting over to Betsy Emery.  Betsy Emery provided a presentation to IDA Board members regarding the Discovery Process that she went through with the IDA Board.  She discussed how websites have fundamentally changed.  They used to involve throwing a bunch of written information onto them.  Now, websites need to be engaging.  People are busy and don’t have time or do not want to read a bunch of text.  She stated it’s imperative to know what your customers want when visiting a website so that the website can be designed to allow a visitor to quickly gain access to the information they are seeking.

Betsy Emery reviewed some of the statistics she gleamed from the IDA’s website for the month of August:

  1. There were approximately 200 visits.
  2. 156 of those visits were first-time visitors.
  3. Many of them looking for sites.
  4. A lot of interest in the IDA’s Uniform Tax Exemption Policy.
  5. There were 33 visits from Chicago.
  6. The first place sought was the County’s profile.

Betsy Emery stated that, based upon the input received, she sees the IDA’s primary customer as being site selectors, businesses and retailers. She stated that there were three (3) key aspects of Fulton County that should be highlighted on the IDA’s Landing Page:

  1. There are shovel-ready sites available.
  2. There are incentives available.
  3. There is a quick permitting process.

Betsy Emery stated that good websites also include stories about clients. She stated that current websites need to be simply and easy to use. She stated there should also be videos available on the website. Videos should not be longer than 3 minutes. She also suggested the IDA consider getting involved with social networking through Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, Linked-In or Twitter. Jim Mraz asked which of the social networking options Betsy Emery thought the IDA would be most benefited by? She stated Linked-In.

At the end of her presentation, Betsy Emery asked if there were any questions. Jim Mraz asked what Betsy’s recommendations were for the IDA’s website. She stated she would like to submit a proposal to the IDA that is broken down into a series of recommended work tasks. Dave D’Amore asked when Betsy could have that proposal to the IDA. She stated she should be able to have that within a week.

Ken Adamczyk stated that the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (FCCRG) is doing the same Discovery Process with Betsy Emery. He said Betsy Emery will be making a similar presentation to the FCCRG Board next week. He stated that Fulton County, the FCCRG and the IDA’s websites all need to be saying and portraying the same image.

There was a brief discussion about establishing a central Landing Page in Fulton County and pursuing this idea with Betsy Emery.

VI. NEW BUSINESS:

A. Board Training:

  1. Background:
      • The 2018 Board evaluations indicated a desire to conduct more training and updates for Board members.
      • As a result, it was agreed to allocate time at IDA meetings to provide training.

2. Input Received from Recent Visits by Corporate Site Selectors:

a. September 2013: Mike Mullis:

  1. Petty Politics:
  • Mike Mullis emphasized that “petty politics” must be set aside in order for economic development to be successful.
  • He stated, with the abilities of firms like his to conduct online research, it is very easy for site selection firms and the companies they represent to know a lot about a community before it even arrives in that community.
  • He advised local officials not to think you live in a sheltered environment, because the fact is you don’t. The world knows what you are doing.

2. Water and Wastewater Services:

  • Mike Mullis stated that he has read that there is a belief in Fulton County that if a development occurs in one (1) municipality, there is no benefit to an adjoining municipality. He stated such a belief is wrong and makes no sense. He stated local officials need to be smarter than that and get over that misconception. He stated that if a region can get a company to move there, the entire Region benefits not just the municipality the project is located in.
  • He stated the Fulton-Montgomery region has available water and sewer capacities which represent its best resources. Mike Mullis recommended that the Region aggressively market these resources to businesses.

3. Shovel-Ready Sites:

  • Mike Mullis recommended that Fulton County:
    – Should identify two (2) 200+/- acre sites.
    – Complete the permitting.
    – Get water and sewer services to each site.

4. Incentives:

  • Mike Mullis stated that incentives can play a key in closing a business deal. He stated that incentive packages are used to help reduce a company’s front end costs.
  • He stated that the $53/$1,000 combined property tax rate in the Cities of Johnstown and Gloversville is very high. He stated that these high tax rates make a PILOT, not an incentive, but a requirement in order to be competitive.
  • He stated that a PILOT would need to be in the 15-20 year period.
  • He stated that a key with PILOT’s is flexibility. He stated communities can’t walk into business negotiations and say here is what we offer and nothing else. He stated communities need to take the position of doing what is needed to make this deal.

5. Tryon Technology Park:

  • Mike Mullis stated that this is one of the best pieces of property he has seen.
  • He stated this is the best site of a former State institution that he has ever seen. It is aesthetically pleasing.
  • He recommended that:
  1. Tryon be marketed exclusively as a business park.
  2. FMCC and HFM-BOCES should have a presence in the Park. This should include developing a major training center on campus for businesses that would locate in the Tryon Technology Park as well as for existing businesses in the Region.
  3. Big box distribution-type facilities shouldn’t go there.
  • He recommended that this project be handled with a business and not a political sense. He stated the long-term plan should be developed and stuck to. Don’t take the first opportunity that comes along if it’s not part of the Plan.

b. September 2017: Dennis Donovan, Jay Garner and Jim Renzas:

  1. Fulton County’s Strengths that Should be Promoted and Marketed:

A. The success of Fulton County’s existing industrial parks show prospective companies that Fulton County has the ability and expertise to attract new companies into the Region.
B. Fulton County’s workforce development initiatives:

  1. PTECH.
  2. Workforce training/educational programming at HFM-BOCES/FMCC.

C. Logistics: Fulton County has good access to:

  • Markets and raw materials
  • Albany Airport/Port of Albany
  • Interstates

D. Fulton County has good infrastructure capacity:

  • Water
  • Wastewater Treatment

E. Fulton County’s “fast-track” local permitting process.
F. Fulton County government is pro business.
G. Fulton County has low occupancy and labor costs.
H. Fulton County offers a high quality of life.

  1. A region’s quality of life is a very important criteria in selecting a site for a new business.
  2. Fulton County should actively market and promote its quality of life and, in particular, its proximity to the Adirondack State Park.

2. Fulton County’s Weaknesses that Should be Addressed:

A. Fulton County has limited “product”:

  1. Shovel-ready sites.
  2. Existing buildings.

B. Lack of racial diversity.
C. School taxes are too high.
D. Electric power rates ($.10 – $.11/kwh) are high.
E. New York State’s image as not being a business friendly state.
F. 14% of Fulton County’s workforce is without a high school degree.
G. Lack of rail service.
H. Fulton County is not part of a regional organization to market the County with.

3. Key Observations about Fulton County’s Labor Force:

A. There are two (2) trends occurring in Fulton County that should be addressed:1.

  1. The County’s population is declining.
  2. The County’s labor force is declining.

B. Companies desire to locate in regions where the population is growing. A growing population means a stable labor force and companies desire to be in regions where they believe there will be a stable labor force.

4. Ideas/Suggestions Offered to Strengthen Fulton County’s Economic Development Program:

A. Select Two (2) Targeted Industries to Focus Targeted Marketing Towards:

  1. Fulton County should select two (2) specific industries and focus marketing efforts on them. Fulton County must then learn everything there is about those two (2) targeted industries.
  2. Potential industry clusters Fulton County could pursue include:
  • Any of the Targeted Industries identified in the Tryon Targeted Industry Analysis
  • Packaging of food and beverage
  • Plastics fabrication
  • Back office/help desks
  • Loan processing/backroom operations
  • Medical records
  • Miscellaneous metals fabrication
  • Financial transactions
  • Sporting goods

3. Identify the trade magazines for these targeted industries. Call the Editors of those magazines. Ask the Editors what the current hot button issues are in those industries and develop advertising/marketing materials for those topics.
4. Attend trade shows for these targeted industries.

B. Strengthen Local Websites:

  1. Local economic development agency’s websites are the #1 marketing tool used by Site Selectors.
  2. Fulton County’s and the FCCRG’s websites should be updated so they can be utilized by mobile devices.
  3. Fulton County, FCCRG, FCIDA and Tryon websites should add more data that Site Selectors/companies look for when searching for sites including data recommended by the International Economic Development Council’s Data (IEDC) Standards.

C. Tryon Technology Park:

  1. Improve the visual appearance by:

a. Demolish existing buildings.
b. Cut trees/brush to make sites more visible.
c. Remove visible fencing with razor ribbon wire.

D. Warehouse and Distribution Facilities:

  1. Warehouse/distribution facilities take up large tracts of land in a community.
  2. Communities, like Fulton County, with limited “product” often do not seek out such facilities.

E. Develop Shell Buildings:

  1. Develop a shell building for manufacturing: 75,000+/- sf expandable to 150,000+/- sf with an interior ceiling height of 30+ feet.
  2. Develop a shell building for offices: 40,000+/- sf

F. Marketing:

  1. Fulton County should annually allocate a minimum of $3 per capita (approximately $165,000 per year) for economic development marketing. This is for direct marketing initiatives provided by professional marketing firms and not for staff and normal operating expenses of an economic development program/organization.
  2. Pursue 2nd Stage Companies. The County should hire a professional marketing firm to develop and implement a specific marketing strategy to target 2nd Stage Companies in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Advise those companies of Fulton County’s assets and advantages of doing business here.
  3. Fulton County should pool its resources with Montgomery County and market the Fulton-Montgomery Region.

G. Education:

  1. Local school districts must increase the number children completing their high school educations which will increase the County’s labor force.
  2. Local school districts must lower school tax rates.

H. Workforce Training/Development:

  1. Fulton County should aggressively market the P-Tech Program and how it’s geared to provide a supply of trained labor.
  2. Fulton County should consider becoming certified as an “ACT Work Ready Community.”
  3. Fulton County should consider participating in the “Dream It/Do It” Program run by The Manufacturing Institute.
  4. Create programs to assist companies on how to manage cross-generational employees (millenials/Gen-X/Gen Z, etc).
  5. Create and utilize apprenticeship programs.
  6. Emphasize re-skilling/up-skilling programs as a key component of local workforce training.

I. Quality of Place:

  1. Fulton County must show itself well and offer a favorable impression to prospective companies.
  2. Fulton County should pursue the development of new housing and retail in its Primary Development Areas.
  3. Promote the redevelopment of downtowns.
  4. Stabilize tax rates.

IDA DISCUSSION:   Jim Mraz reviewed the information on the Agenda.  He stated that it’s important to remember all of the positive input and feedback Fulton County received from these recent visits by Site Selectors.  There was a brief discussion regarding the need to better market P-Tech, HFM-BOCES and FMCC and the roles that they play in workforce training in Fulton County.

3.  Types of Projects IDA’s are Authorized to Participate in:

a. Background:

  1. IDA’s are authorized under Section 852 of New York State’s General Municipal Law (GML).
  2. Section 858 of GML states the purpose of IDA’s shall be to: “Promote, develop, encourage and assist in the acquiring, construction, reconstructing, improving, maintaining, equipping and furnishing:

a. Industrial
b. Manufacturing
c. Warehousing
d. Commercial
e. Research and recreation facilities
f. Industrial pollution control facilities
g. Educational or cultural facilities
h. Railroad facilities
i. Horse racing facilities
j. Automobile racing facilities
k. Continuing care retirement communities
l. Retail: Retail component of total project cost can’t exceed 33%.

  • b. Fulton County IDA:
  1. Historically, the Fulton County IDA has been involved primarily with manufacturing projects.

c. Examples of Projects other IDA’s in New York State are Involved With:

  1. See Handout.

IDA DISCUSSION:   Jim Mraz reviewed the information on the Agenda.  He stated that, historically, the Fulton County IDA has been involved primarily with manufacturing-type projects.  He reviewed Section 858 of General Municipal Law which authorizes IDA’s to be involved with a variety of other types of projects besides manufacturing.  He then reviewed examples of projects other IDA’s in New York State are involved with that was attached to the Agenda.  He reviewed several examples of different projects listed on that attachment.  He recommended that the IDA Board look to change its brand by marketing the IDA as an entity that can incentivize various types of projects.  There was a general discussion regarding this matter.  All present agreed that the IDA should better market and promote itself as an entity that can assist in a variety of different types of projects.  Marie Born asked if the IDA could help in downtown revitalization?  Jim Mraz stated that if a project in a downtown is determined to be eligible to receive benefits, the IDA could certainly incentivize those types of projects.  He, again, pointed to a number of the examples in the attachment where other IDA’s in New York State helped incentivize building renovation projects in various downtowns.

B. IDA Property at Tryon Technology Park on South Side of CR107:

  1. Background:
  • The IDA owns a 26+/- acre parcel of land on south side of CR107 across from the Tryon Technology Park.
  • The parcel has several older structures on there that were used for residences and offices when the Tryon Juvenile Detention Facility was operational. These structures are all vacant.
  • The Town of Perth’s Zoning Law has this parcel in a Business Technology Zone (BTZ). Allowable uses in a BTZ zone include:
  1. High tech information, communication, commercial computer services and related businesses.
  2. Research and development of materials, methods or products, including engineering and laboratory uses, renewable energy businesses, nano sciences and commercial and physical research, and related uses, including pharmaceutical manufacturing.
  3. Business and professional offices including single or multi-unit office buildings.
  4. Manufacturing, processing, assembly, fabrication and related facilities.
  5. Warehouse and distribution facilities.
  6. Fitness and Recreational Sports businesses.
  7. Educational facilities.
  8. Retail, commercial and service businesses such as:
  • Banks/credit unions
  • Restaurants and sandwich shops
  • Daycare facilities

9. Hotel/Conference Center/Motel
10. Housing
11. Medical Offices and Health Care Facilities.
12. Food and Beverage Industry Businesses

2. Appraisal:

  • The IDA Board has discussed an interest in potentially putting this parcel of land up for sale.
  • To do so, the IDA Board desires to have an appraisal conducted.

3. Proposal:

  • The IDA has received a proposal from Whittaker Appraisal Group to provide an appraisal of this parcel.
  • Whittaker’s appraisal would establish a market value assuming a residential highest and best use.
  • Total Fee: $500

IDA DISCUSSION:    Dave D’Amore reviewed the information on the Agenda.   He asked if there were any questions.  There were none.

IDA ACTION:

MOTION:                   To authorize a $500 payment to Whittaker Appraisal to prepare an appraisal of a 26+/- acre parcel of land on the south side of CR107.

MADE BY:                 Jane Kelley
SECONDED:              Joe Semione
VOTE:                        Unanimous

C. 2020 IDA Budget:

  1. Background:
  • IDA is required to have its 2020 Budget adopted by October 31, 2019.
  • Executive Director and CFO are currently drafting 2020 Budget.
  • Budget will be presented at October Board meeting.

2. Potential 2020 Projects/Initiatives:

  • Does the IDA Board have any specific project/initiative it desires to undertake in 2020 that should be included into 2020 Budget?

IDA DISCUSSION:    Dave D’Amore reviewed the information on the Agenda.  It was suggested that dollars be allocated into the 2020 Budget to perform 1 or 2 desktop environmental assessments.  It was further discussed that IDA Board members could bring up additional ideas at the October Board meeting to consider for inclusion into the 2020 Budget.

D. Video Streaming:

  1. Background:
  • Governor Cuomo has signed a new bill mandating that IDA’s video stream all IDA meetings and public hearings.
  • The Legislation states IDA’s shall, to the extent practicable, stream all open meetings and public hearings on its website in real-time. The agency shall post video recordings of all open meetings and public hearings on its website within five (5) business days of the meeting or hearing and shall maintain such recordings for a period of not less than five (5) years.

2. 2020 Budget:

  • Staff is consulting with the County’s IT Department and Emery Designs to determine what it may cost the IDA to comply with this new State mandate.
  • A line item will be included into 2020 Budget for this new State mandate.

IDA DISCUSSION:    Jim Mraz reviewed the information on the Agenda.   He stated that a line item will be included into the 2020 Budget to appropriate dollars necessary for the IDA to comply with this new State mandate.

 

VII. OTHER BUSINESS:

A. Executive Session:

  • Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a public body may conduct an executive session for the below enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys:
          1. matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed;
          2. any matter which may disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent or informer;
          3. information relating to current or future investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense which would imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed;
          4. discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation;
          5. collective negotiations pursuant to article fourteen of the civil service law;
          6. the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation;
          7. the preparation, grading or administration of examinations;
          8. the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.

 

MOTION:                   To go into Executive Session to discuss the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.

MADE BY      :           Joe Semione
SECOND        :           Tim Munn
VOTE              :           Unanimous
TIME              :           9:00 a.m.

 

MOTION        :           To go out of Executive Session.

MADE BY      :           Tim Munn
SECOND        :           Joe Semione
VOTE              :           Unanimous
TIME              :           9:45 a.m.

VIII. 1776 HEMP PROJECT:

MOTION        :           To authorize the Chairman to execute a Revocable License with 1776 Hemp for the 3.4 acre parcel of land and former Building 60 at the Tryon Technology Park subject to the final approval of said Revocable License by both IDA Counsel and Executive Director.

MADE BY      :           Tim Munn
SECOND        :           Joe Semione
VOTE              :           Unanimous

IX. NEXT MEETING:

Tuesday
*October 15, 2019
8:00 a.m.

* Note change in date

X. CLOSE MEETING:

MOTION        :           To close the meeting.

MADE BY      :           Jane Kelley
SECONDED   :           Joe Semione
VOTE              :           Unanimous
TIME              :           9:50 a.m.

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